A panel including past presidents unanimously disagreed with NCAA sanctions placed upon Penn State late this summer, levying $60 million in fines, drastically cutting scholarships and keeping the team out of bowl contention for the next several years.
But they also agreed on this: Nothing can be done, and Penn State needs to move on.
“My heart goes out to you. This was a very unique situation and I hope it never happens again. No one has ever fired a president or athletic director over a football issue,” said Gene Corrigan, NCAA president from 1995 to 1997. “No one has certainly literally killed a football coach over one either.”
Corrigan and others spoke on the future of the NCAA to a crowd of about 500 on Thursday night in the State Theatre.
Penn State R. Scott Kretchmar, former NCAA faculty representative, drew applause when he expressed his disagreement with the level of the punishment by the NCAA and the level of evidence to support the punishment.
“Draconian penalties need to be supported by a high burden of proof. The evidence is not all in. Trials didn’t even happen yet. What happened to due process?” Kretchmar said.
Thomas O’Toole, assistant managing editor/ sports of USA Today, expressed his shock when the NCAA sent a letter to Penn State asking questions about the scandal.
“When I heard about the story, I thought there was no way the NCAA would or should get involved. When I heard the NCAA sent Penn State a letter, I was stunned,” O’Toole said.
After the panel had expressed its scrutiny of the NCAA’s involvement, university Board of Trustees member Anthony Lubrano addressed the panel.
“What can we do?” to address the sanctions, Lubrano asked.
Cedric Dempsey, NCAA president from 1994 to 2003, was the first to speak. He was blunt.
“There’s nothing you can do. You gave up your rights and therefore, your options,” Dempsey said.
According to the panel, Penn State would have had a case against the NCAA on procedural grounds, but since Penn State forfeited its right to appeal, there is nothing that can be done to overturn that decision.
Corrigan was even more blunt: “Bury it and move on,” he said.
Amanda Hommer is a student in the College of Communications. She can be reached at ACH5228@psu.edu.